German Bundestag delegation plants trees for protection in Kibbutz Sufa near the Gaza Border.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
Dietmar Bartsch, a member of the German Bundestag, visited Israel to express his solidarity with the country on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding. Bartsch and his entourage wanted more than just meetings with officials in Jerusalem, and sought to discover the country and its landscapes, and meet its people. The delegation participated in security plantings in Kibbutz Sufa, located in the Kerem Shalom region next to the border with the Gaza Strip.
Read more, see photos of the tree planting with German Bundestag delegation
"We are pleased to have this opportunity to make a small, concrete contribution to the building of Israel, and promoting its growth and security," said Mr. Bartsch. “I was greatly impressed by the activities of the KKL-JNF for the benefit of both humans and the environment."
The security plantings along the Gaza Strip border, which the KKL-JNF carries out with the support of its friends throughout the world, constitute a natural barrier to terrorism, concealing the settlements and roads from the eyes of those trying to fire rockets, missiles and mortars at local residents.
JNF-KKL Germany has adopted four security planting projects on the Gaza border in the areas of Nahal Oz, Nativ Ha'asara, Road 232 and the Erez checkpoint, where about 2,000 trees have been planted, providing residents with a protective green screen of trees.
Bartsch, who is the Chairman of the left-wing party Die Linke party, visited Israel together with fellow party members Thomas Westphal, Michael Schlick and Uwe Hobler.
Kibbutz Sufa was established in 1982 by members evacuated from their homes in the Sinai following the peace treaty with Egypt. The kibbutz is located about one kilometer from the Gaza Strip border, and its fields are adjacent to the border fence. In recent years, dozens of mortar shells were fired at the kibbutz, and in two cases houses suffered direct hits. When a mortar or missile is fired, residents have only 5 seconds to reach safety.
"We usually hear the alarm a bit after we hear the explosion of the fallen missile," said a local resident Dani Kastenbaum. "The trees hide us from the eyes of our enemies across the border, and provide us with a sense of security. They not only provide protection but also add green color and give us shade."